A Plague Year
Knopf, 2011 (2011)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
n rural Pennsylvania, a financially depressed coal mining town is beginning to feel the devastation of a plague. Sudafed and cleaning supplies are beginning to disappear from supermarket shelves and home labs are being set up to make meth, a dangerously addictive drug.
n the darkness of early dawn, Tim sits in the family van in front of Food Giant waiting for his dad to take him to school. A truck drives up and the passengers attempt to rob the ATM in front of the store. Tom's quick thinking keeps his dad and a fellow employee from being shot by one of the robbers.
ater that day, Tom's English class is assigned
A Journal of a Plague Year
. His teacher compares the classic novel by Daniel Defoe to what is happening in their community.
om's sister Lily was recently caught with marijuana and agrees to after-school drug counseling given by a mental health professional. His mother insists Tom attend also. When he arrives he find that the room is full and not all of the kids have drug problems. His cousin is there because his step-dad is giving a court-ordered talk about addiction. Others are there to find help for their families.
om learns a lot about drugs in these sessions, but he learns more from watching the way his town changes as the plague progresses. More and more people become victims. There's increased shoplifting and robberies, drug zombies on every corner, and every day more deaths. When their counselor leaves, the group decides to continue to meet in a church downtown. Their first session is attended by many of the homeless drug zombies from the street.
here have been other good YA books about meth addiction, but
A Plague Year
takes a different approach to the problem by showing what happens to families and communities as well as those who become addicted. Edward Bloor has several award winning books including
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